Shoveling the drive I am followed. Two bundles of over-bunched and booted joy seek to “help.”
As Mia pushes the snow directly into the path I’d just cleared, I pause.
“Mia, if you want to help you’ve got to do it this way.”
Taking her shovel, I position her rightly. I show her which way to push. Still, she detours. Into the gravel and mud she begins.
“That’s not working for ya, huh? Do it this way, like I showed you.”
Once again, she tries. This time she begins at an acceptable starting point, but quickly derails.
“Alright honey, come here.”
Laying my shovel down, I take hers.
“Stand in front of me.”
Together we walk a straight line towards the end of the drive.
“That’s the path you need to follow.”
“Ok, Mom. I will try my best this time.”
Two minutes later, Maylee chimes in.
“Let me do it, Mommy.”
Learning my lesson, I reply, “Ok, May. Stand here in front of me.”
“No, Mommy! I can do it myself!”
“I know you can. Hold the shovel and walk this way.”
Behind her I secretly push and lift at the proper times.
“I did it, Mommy! I did it all by myself!”
“Good job, Maylee. You’re a great helper!”
Through our snow shoveling lesson I learn my own. It’s really not about getting finished quickly. It’s not about working perfectly. It’s not even about meeting our end goals. It’s about working together, trusting one another, and knowing who needs taught vs. who really just needs encouraged. At the end of the day the driveway will be clear one way or another. The question is whether we will have the wisdom and patience to allow others to have a part in it along with us.
Jesus directs. Jesus corrects. He includes, he instructs, and he helps – all at just the right times. Jesus lifts the heavy end of our burden and, once in a while, even allows us to celebrate our victories with him as though we really did something – knowing full well he did it all. I guess he just knows us well enough to understand when to teach and when to quietly encourage. I pray we, as his followers, learn to do the same.